Raza stars as Zimbabwe draw level in Namibia
By The Namibian
Zimbabwe levelled the T20 series against Namibia on Wednesday after a great run fest that went down to the wire, with Sikandar Raza hitting the winning runs off the last ball of the match.
He deservedly won the player of the match award with a great innings of 82 not out which came off only 35 balls, that included three fours and a massive nine sixes.
According to the Zimbabwean Herald that’s a new Zimbabwean record for the most sixes in a T20 international, while the 398 total runs scored became the highest match aggregate for T20 internationals between Namibia and Zimbabwe.
After being sent in to bat, Namibia got off to a great start with Michael van Lingen and Niko Davin racing to 50 off only four overs.
They reached their century stand off only nine overs, but Ryan Burl got the breakthrough when he dismissed Van Lingen for 67 off 37 balls (10×4, 3×6).
Gerhard Erasmus continued the onslaught, taking the total to 166 before he was dismissed for 38 (28 balls, 5×4), while Davin was run out for 60 (off 44 balls, 6×4, 2×6).
JJ Smit added a rapid 25 not out off 11 balls (1×4, 2×6) as Namibia reached a huge total of 198 for three wickets.
Zimbabwe made a solid response, before Nick Welch was dismissed by Smit for 25, and when Craig Irvine fell for 10, and Innocent Kaia (for 37), they still had along way to go at 77/3 at the halfway stage of their innings.
They were well behind the required run rate, but Raza took charge of proceedings with a great knock as he chased down the total.
With one over remaining Namibia still held the upper hand with Zimbabwe needing 18 runs, but Raza hit consecutive sixes off Tangeni Lungameni and after two singles, the winning four off the last ball of the match to complete a great victory for the visitors, which ties the five-match series at one-all.
Erasmus was Namibia’s top bowler, taking two wickets for 29 runs, while Smit, Jan Frylinck and Nicole Loftie-Eaton each picked up a wicket.
Raza said he gave it all for his country.
“That’s what is expected of us – every time we put on the national jersey there’s nothing less than we need to do. Winning and losing is part of the game as well, but as long as all of us are giving everything for our country and doing everything we can,” he said.
“If we get outplayed by the opposition, at least we can hold our heads high. Credit to Namibia as well, they’ve played two fantastic games and we’ve been inconsistent, so I think we’ve still got a long way to go,” he added.